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Welcome to the first of my ‘Quick Q&A’ series in which I will address questions that I am often asked by my clients and highlight issues that affect their international residential investment decisions. Each week I will be sitting down and asking 5 questions, working alongside a group of industry experts to answer your most frequently asked questions.
In this first week, I sat with Toby Johncox from Enness Mortgages;
‘Middle Eastern investors represent a significant force in high-value European property investment, particularly in the UK. Although Brexit and other economic factors may have influenced investment strategies, Europe and the UK specifically is still considered a desirable spot to invest both commercially and residentially.
However—as Enness has discovered in over a decade of working with high net worth Middle Eastern nationals—these individuals have many misconceptions regarding their ability to invest in the UK. We’ve compiled the following list to address these misconceptions: if you have further questions, let us know, and we will be happy to advise.
1. Can Middle Eastern investors buy property in the UK?
Yes. Whether you are resident in the Middle East or are currently living in Europe you can buy property in the UK or the continent more generally, you can buy property in the UK.
2. Do foreign buyers have to purchase a certain type of property?
No, you are free to buy any type of property. Whether you prefer a high-rise luxury apartment, a country estate, a London townhouse or a buy-to-let portfolio, there are a range of options.
3. Do Middle Eastern buyers need a UK bank account to get a mortgage?
Not as such, but it can be useful. Some banks may require you to have one by the time the mortgage is place, but your broker can guide you when it comes to setting this up. This isn’t something to be concerned about: not having one to begin with won’t stop you from being able to secure a large mortgage.
4. Do Middle Eastern buyers need to come to London to get a mortgage?
No, you do not need to be in London to secure a mortgage in the UK. Enness has representative offices in Dubai’s DIFC and Monaco, and can also work through Family Offices and other professional advisers. With the right team of advisers in place, a property transaction be handled on your behalf.
5. Is it necessary to have a UK or European passport?
No, passport holders from around the world can secure a UK mortgage, although this will generally require the help of a broker.
Is Sharia-compliant finance available in the UK and Europe?
Although there are fewer options available, Sharia-compliant finance is certainly a possibility in Europe. There are a number of well-established options in the UK, and France is actively trying to establish Paris as a western centre for Islamic finance.